Accepted (2006): Education Is Not A Measure of Intelligence.

(Spoiler Alert)

It’s an underrated film, with witty, funny and ridiculously-scripted screenplay accompanied with a strong message for society of all ages. And like most underrated films, it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites.


I remembered watching this back in 2013 and it widened my perspective on learning and self-worth, and most importantly as the title stated, on ACCEPTANCE.

It’s a film that depicts the life of a high school graduate (Bartleby Gaines) trying to get himself accepted into various colleges, only to fail miserably. What he did in regards to the rejection is the main reason why this particular film turns out to be an interesting one.

Accepted has taught me quite a number of lessons, most of which I believe should be shared with everyone who’re willing to read this, especially to the younger generation going through all sorts of rejection in life.


A couple of months ago, I came upon several articles and ‘confessions’ posted through social medias by youths, or more specifically ‘angry’ youths of a particular university comparing themselves and their struggles against those experienced by students of other universities. A deliberate ‘debate’ was sparked up with students claiming and further comparing each other’s struggles about how other people got it easier than them and how the ‘product’ of university A is of lesser quality than the ‘product’ of university B.

We’ve been living in a society that compares about literally EVERYTHING. From education to who owns the latest pair of Nike shoes to who travelled to the most countries. Honestly, aren’t you people sick and tired of it?

I was once asked about what it felt like to be compared with students from another University and to be deemed ‘low quality’ in regards to my education.

Was I angry? Should I lash back at those who claimed so? Do I need to compare what I had gone through with what others had?

Well, here’s the big question. If I were to do all of that, WOULD IT HELP?

Instead of being angry and retaliate, all I got to do is to PROVE them wrong. Action screams louder than words, anyways.

Everyone and I mean everyone, should never be measured by their education. People should NOT be judged by their education but by their intelligence, character and attitude. You can graduate from the lowest ranking University in the whole wide world and you can still be the smartest and humblest person there is. Or you can be a graduate from the most prestigious University with an attitude that disregards other people’s opinions, feelings and sensitivities. Regardless of where you get an education from, it is never an excuse to undermine and condemn others.

The main point is education is not a measure of intelligence. So, why would people focus on the former instead of the latter? Where or what you study does not define you. You define you.

In relation to the film Accepted, even though Bartleby got rejected by every college he applied to, he went on to be the founder of another (South Harmon Institute of Technology), with creativity and passion-based curriculum, that ACCEPTS everyone. As opposed to the neighbouring ‘ivy-league’ college (Harmon Institute of Technology) who discriminates those whom they deemed not at par with their ‘standard’.


How many of you are studying a course that you’re actually interested in? Or are you just following the one and only path laid in front of you? Are you studying blindly just to secure your future, for the sake of getting a job and paying bills? Or are you applying your creativity and passion throughout the learning process? Does the educational system nowadays encourage us to follow our hearts or play it safe? I’ll bet on the latter.

In the film Accepted, South Harmon Institute of Technology offered their students to choose what they wanted to learn regardless of their grades. Since their curriculum focused solely on the student’s passion, learning became a fun and exciting process that each one of them look forward to everyday. Meanwhile, quoting from Bartleby’s speech in the film, ‘Harmon Institute of Technology’s tradition and curriculum puts so much pressure on kids turning them into stress-freak and caffeine-addicts’.

Educational institutions play a massive role in instilling knowledge by letting students express in their own creativity, not by spoon-feeding them with information just to prep them for examinations. How do you expect the younger generations to be great thinkers and changers when they are robbed of their own creativity and freedom of expressions? Victor Pinchuk once stated that, ‘Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics’.


Rejection hurts. Nobody likes being rejected, be it from your crush or from that dream job you applied to, or from your college applications. It is the nature of human beings to yearn to be accepted, to belong. Reality check, you’ll get rejected. Maybe just once, if you’re lucky. I got to say though, I’m pretty much unlucky.

 Nevertheless, what matters most is how you deal with being rejected. Are you going to lie in bed and cry your eyes out for a month? Are you going to play the blame game and endlessly whine like it’s the end of the world? Or are you going to fight back with every part of you, change for the better and show the world what you’ve got?

I chose change. I’ve figured out that as much as you’d think that it’s impossible, it is possible to rely on yourself to make the big leap. Sometimes, all it takes is courage and believe it or not, you have it in you. Just have faith and search for it within yourself.

Rejection is not the end of the world. Life is full of possibilities. Rather than focusing on the fact of not being wanted, why not grasp the possibilities and make something out of them? Rather than waiting for the change to happen, why not be the change?

‘Everybody thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.’ – Leo Tolstoy.

When Bartleby got rejected from every college he applied to, he did not blame anybody for that nor did he beat himself up for the failure. Instead, he started his cunningly brilliant plan by starting his own college which would eventually made him realize of the possibilities that he had accidentally created for himself and for the students who enrolled at South Harmon.

All in all, Accepted taught us to accept ourselves even if nobody else does. Being rejected does not determine your self-worth and you are NOT the definition of those who have rejected you.

As the younger generation who will eventually be the future of our own country, we should embrace the differences between each other, the weaknesses and the strength. Let’s stop the comparisons and start building each other up. One that grows together will never be easily broken because ultimately, unity is strength.

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